Can I simulate soda's effect on the stomach by pouring soda on bacon?

I am doing a project involving different kind of soda and bacon (representing the lining of the stomache) and i want to know all the details on what reactions cause the bacon to be eaten and what chemical reaction occurs when it happens.
Felipe

Felipe, if the hypothesis is that soda pop corrodes the stomach lining, this experiment won't be very enlightening.
  • The acid in soda pop is phosphoric acid. It's a much weaker acid than hydrochloric acid, which is the natural stomach acid. A can of pop does not make stomach contents much more acidic. In fact flat soda pop is sometimes recommended as a remedy for nausea. It actually soothes stomach irritations.
  • Proteins are partially broken down in the stomach by enzymes (called rennin and pepsin). The enzymes need the hydrochloric acid to work, and they only begin the job of protein digestion. Most of the protein finishes digesting in the intestine, not the stomach. The hydrochloric acid dissolves minerals in the food and kills bacteria, but the enzymes do most of the work in digestion. Without the enzymes in your simulated gastric juice, the digestion will be slow.
  • You're missing a very important ingredient: mucus. It doesn't get much good press, but mucus is an effective protection against bacteria, dust, and other irritations for many tissues in the body. What an important job! A nice thick coat of mucus keeps the acid/enzyme mixture in the gastric juice from working on the stomach wall. Take a look at Professor Beakman's mucus page, if you can stand it. If you can't, you can find the same information here, in an article that explains how ulcers are caused by bacteria that infect cells that produce the mucus.
Consider redesigning your experiment to test Beakman's hypothesis: the stomach doesn't digest itself because it's protected by a layer of mucus. Beakman has posted a lovely recipe for simulated mucus, and it isn't hard to prepare realistic gastric juice. Your project would be a little more sound, as well as a terrific grossout that will attract plenty of attention. Save the soda to treat the nausea you'll induce in your audience, and if you decide to publish this- don't mention me.

Author: Fred Senese senese@antoine.frostburg.edu



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